feb 2022 ft img

Doctor, Please Answer My Questions!

As a CSA and a resource for seniors, I receive a lot of emails. One in particular stood out.

One woman asked: “Is it normal for a doctor to ignore and not address a patient’s concerns and questions?”

Here’s the reality: When we visit our doctors, we cross our fingers that all is good and just want to get out of there. When asked if we have questions, most of us respond with a big ol’ “nope.”

But often, when we do ask questions, they go unanswered with the doctor almost refusing to respond. We might even get one of two cliché responses: It’s just old age or it’s all in your head.

We accept vague answers—and we don’t go deeper because we really don’t want to know. We’re happy to leave with any good news or positive plan of action.

We’re you sent off for tests or even surgery with no clear explanation why either was needed? We’re you told it’s too complicated to explain or asked to trust the doctor’s experience and expertise?

It’s a definite red flag if the only response you get is: “it will make you feel better.” And this is why your own research and a second opinion are key!

I realize some of you don’t ask because you feel it’s an insult to question the doctor who’s taken care of you for years. Just remember, it’s your responsibility to ask and it’s your doctors responsibility to answer!

Are the medical concerns of older adults backburnered, sidelined, dismissed and disregarded? It happens!

Older adults are often relegated to the perceived symptoms of age and society’s view of the aging—and unfortunately, we often buy into those perceptions ourselves.

Also, there are many human touch points in the medical industry that may make you feel disengaged, disrespected, even misunderstood. It’s up to you to establish your preferred levels of engagement with all caregivers.

Write down your questions or use this form created by The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to prepare for your appointment. Please visit: https://www.ahrq.gov/questions/be-engaged/index.html or email me for a copy.

Pat Landaker is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) and owner of Living La Vida Senior. She serves on the ASA’s Innovation and Social Impact Council, the City of Henderson’s Senior Citizens Advisory Commission and teaches Positive Aging at UNLV/OLLI. Contact her at [email protected].

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